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On the Verge of Generation Z: Career Expectations of Current University Students

Authors:

Abstract

Generation Z is currently starting to enter the world of work. The present study reports preliminary findings of research that aims to explore career preferences of Generation Z university students in Slovakia. The primary objective was to elaborate on the existing theoretical and empirical work on Generation Y by examining the extent to which factors that have been recognized as determinants of Generation Y’s work-related expectations also matter to Generation Z. Based on the sample of 237 university students the results suggest that in search for a future employer, nature of job and work-life balance are the most important factors. Work-life balance is an important factor in terms of career expectations as well as job retention. Also, Generation Z expect their jobs to yield internal satisfaction and consider reward a strong factor of both job retention and work satisfaction. While these findings to some extent identify the overlaps between career preferences of both generations, further research is needed to explore potential unique career expectations of Generation Z.
Proceedings of
the 29
th
International Business Information Management Association Conference
3-4 May 2017
Vienna Austria
ISBN: 978-0-9860419-7-6
Education Excellence and Innovation Management through Vision 2020:
From Regional Development Sustainability to Global Economic Growth
Editor
Khalid S. Soliman
International Business Information Management Association (IBIMA)
Copyright 2017
On the Verge of Generation Z:
Career Expectations of Current University Students
Zuzana Kirchmayer, Faculty of Management, Comenius University in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia
zuzana.kirchmayer@fm.uniba.sk
Jana Fratričová, Faculty of Management, Comenius University in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia
jana.fratricova@fm.uniba.sk
Abstract
Generation Z is currently starting to enter the world of work. The present study reports preliminary
findings of research that aims to explore career preferences of Generation Z university students in
Slovakia. The primary objective was to elaborate on the existing theoretical and empirical work on
Generation Y by examining the extent to which factors that have been recognized as determinants of
Generation Y’s work-related expectations also matter to Generation Z. Based on the sample of 237
university students the results suggest that in search for a future employer, nature of job and work-life
balance are the most important factors. Work-life balance is an important factor in terms of career
expectations as well as job retention. Also, Generation Z expect their jobs to yield internal satisfaction
and consider reward a strong factor of both job retention and work satisfaction. While these findings to
some extent identify the overlaps between career preferences of both generations, further research is
needed to explore potential unique career expectations of Generation Z.
Keywords: Generation Y, Generation Z, career, human resource management, Slovakia.
Introduction
In both academic and practitioner literature, a lot has been written about different generational cohorts in
the workforce, that are said to be different from each other in ways important for managers (Macky et al.
2008), their specifics and resulting implications for HR. Currently, there are three prevailing generations
in the workplace – Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y (Tapscott 2009). During the last
decade, Generation Y was the main focus of the authors researching work-related generational specifics
as it presented the youngest pool of talent entering the world of work. Today, a new generation is
assuming the position of “the youngest in the workforce” – Generation Z has already entered universities,
as well as their first jobs. According to predictions and initial research, they share a different set of
values, motives, and attitudes to work-related issues than Generation Y and thus, again, present a new
challenge for employers.
The present preliminary study has a primary objective to elaborate on the existing theoretical and
empirical work on Generation Y by examining the extent to which factors that have been recognized as
determinants of Generation Y’s work-related expectations and behaviours also matter to Generation Z.
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1 Generations Y and Z in the Workplace
A “generation” is defined as “an identifiable group that shares birth years, age, location and significant
life events at critical developmental stages” (Kupperschmidt 2000: 66). When society changes
generations tend to adopt a different mindset, which leads to different beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and
values (Xander et al. 2012).
Generation Y, also often referred to as “the Millennium Generation”, “Echo Boomers”, “Generation
Next” (Sheahan 2005; Parry and Urwin 2011), or “the Millennials” (Kultalahtii and Viitala 2015), was
born between early 1980s and approximately 1995 (see e.g. Parry and Urwin 2011, Lyon et al. 2010,
Hays 2013). This “most technically literate, educated and ethnically diverse generation in history” (Eisner
2005, p. 6), provides a challenge for management, as “everyone sees the world their own way” (Sheahan
2005:205).
According to the studies, Generation Y expects work to be meaningful (Dries et al., 2008), and seeks
interesting and challenging job content (De Hauw and De Vos 2010; Baruch 2004) with dynamic tasks
(Kultalahti and Viitala 2015) and consistent and constructive feedback (Martin 2005). They seek constant
learning and development, and expect support and care while doing so (Sturges et al. 2002; Broadlbride et
al. 2007; Kultalahti and Viitala 2015). Similarly to previous generations, job security and salary is
important for them (De Hauw and De Vos 2010; Dries et al. 2008), however, they prefer instant bonuses
and various benefits more (Hurst and Good 2009). They attach a lot of importance to self-actualization,
intrinsic benefits, social relations, and a supportive work environment (Solnet and Hood 2008; Kultalahti
and Viitala 2015), and are concerned with fairness, equality and tolerance from their future employment
(Broadlbride et al. 2007). Career progression and advancement is very important for them (Wong et al.
2008, De Hauw and De Vos 2010; Broadlbride et al. 2007), on the other hand, they require work-life
balance (Cennamo and Gardner 2008; Kultalahti and Viitala 2015), as work is considered to be just one
part of their lives not more important as the other ones.
Exploring the specifics and stereotypes of particular generation, is often followed by number of
suggestions applying to almost all human resource functions (see e.g. Pwc 2011; Kilber et al. 2014;
Dziewanowska et al. 2016; Hays 2013). In the last decade, Generation Y has brought a lot of changes in
human resource management practices. There has been a call for more flexibility in terms of working
hours as well as compensation structures less determined by the monitoring of time spent at the
workplace but the amount of work output, utilizing sophisticated communication, creating a continuous
learning environment, setting up mentoring systems, enhancing recognition programs, instant and
continuous feedback, as well as being more clear on values and behaviors of the organization and
providing bigger picture and adding more purpose to their work (Kultalahti and Viitala 2015; Shaw and
Fairhurst 2008; Weyland 2011; Stacho and Stachová 2015; Remišová et al. 2014; Remišová and
Lašáková 2014).
Nowadays, Generation Z, also known as Generation C (connected) (Krejčová and Tomášková 2014), as
they are often seen as “digital natives” (Friedrich et al. 2010) born between 1995 and 2010 (Seemiller and
Grace 2016; Koulopoulos and Keldsen 2016) is rapidly replacing Generation Y on college campuses
(Seemiller and Grace 2016) and just beginning to enter the world of work. Though many organizations
have succeeded in adjusting their practices to the changed expectations of Generation Y, the challenge
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starts over again with Generation Z beginning to enter the workforce. As for Generation Z, they are
expected to encourage the increasing virtualization of the organizations, 24/7 connectivity, social
networking, as well as demand more personal freedom and thus continue to move organizations away
from traditional hierarchical structures. (Friedrich et al. 2010). Only further research will show how much
different their expectations, motivations, values, requirements and talents are from previous generation,
and how much shift in HR practices they would inspire.
2 Research Methodology
The sample for this study consisted of 237 Slovak university students currently studying towards their
bachelor’s degree in management. Based on previous literature review, the target respondents for the
sample were defined as management students born in 1995 or later with no limitations regarding the
mode of study (full-time versus part-time), field specialization (strategy, finance, marketing, human
resources) gender and existing work experience. Initial data collection was carried out in Q4 2016. For
the purpose of the preliminary study, we have decided to limit data collection to one selected faculty,
taking time to test the data collection instrument, formulate preliminary findings and decide on any
potential changes in further data collection and methodology.
A prevailing majority of respondents (89,5%) were born at the very beginning of the period that is
currently acknowledged as the Generation Z’s birth years i.e. 1995/1996. Approximately 10% of
respondents were born in 1997 and the remaining 0,5% of respondents were born in 1998. The sample is
thus literally on the verge of Generation Z implying that some results will have to be interpreted with
caution and with regard to the potential crossover with the Generation Y.
In order to explore career expectations, the respondents were asked to assess the importance of a set of
factors in four phases of the employee-employer relationship: 1) decision-making in the process of
searching for potential employers, 2) career expectations, 3) retention, and 4) work satisfaction. All
factors were assessed on a 5-point scale. The factors examined in individual phases of the employee-
employment relationship were all derived from previous theoretical analyses of a number of works
dealing with the themes of Generation Y and Generation Z. Respondents also had a chance to add one
extra factor on top of those listed.
In the 1st and 3rd part of the questionnaire, respondents were asked to assess to the importance of each
factor (regarding their decision-making in the process of searching for a new employer (1st part) and their
retention (3rd part)) on a scale ranging from 1 meaning “this factor is not important at all” to 5 meaning
“this factor is of crucial importance”. They also had a chance to add one extra factor on top of those
listed. In the 2nd and the 4th part of the questionnaire, the respondents rated how strongly they agreed or
disagreed with statements describing their career expectations (2nd part) and work satisfaction (4th part),
ranging from 1 meaning “I do not agree at all” to 5 meaning “I totally agree”.
Data obtained have been transferred to MS Excel spreadsheet to obtain descriptive statistics. The
importance of individual factors in four phases of the employer-employee relationship was based on
calculation of mean values for all answers within each factor. Since this is a preliminary study, we have
not performed any further statistical analyses at this point.
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3 Research Results and Discussion
The results for all factors within each of the four phases are shown in Table 1. The mean values of all
researched items are above 3, which means that students born on the verge of Generation Z perceive all of
them at least partially important.
As for the phase of decision-making in search for a potential future employer, the results indicate that the
nature of job in question (4.02) and work-life balance (4.02) have the highest importance on decision-
making of Generation Z students, followed by job security (4.0), work-flexibility (3.92), and
opportunities for training and development (3.70). On the other hand, possibility to travel abroad as a part
of job duties (3.22) together with organizational values and CSR (3.25), offered benefits (3.34), the image
of the organization (3.37), and opportunity for fast career growth (3.48) seem to play only a partially
important role in the process of choosing a potential employer.
The aspects of an individual job also seem to be crucial in terms of career expectations. More specifically,
a job that yields internal satisfaction is largely expected by Generation Z participants (4.52) just like
work-life balance in the job (4.36), and development of skills and proficiency (4.24). Good relationship
with the boss (4.13) seems to be equally important to good reward and wealth (4.13) and only a little
more sought than job security (4.09). On the other hand, it seems that most respondents do not assume
that autonomy in what they do (3.83), or social life related to their work will play a major role in their
careers (3.64). After all, living one’s social life outside work environment is in line with the highly
requested work-life balance.
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Table 1 Results for the four phases of the employee-employer relationship
As for job retention, it is important to note, that compared to previous phases of the employer-employee
relationship, it is a construct harder to measure in Generation Z students since most have very limited
work experience. Even though most respondents in our sample reported to have some work experience,
given their academic duties one can assume that much of this experience consisted of part-time or one-
time jobs for a limited period of time. It can thus be hard for students to imagine what factors might
potentially bring them to a decision to leave or remain with their current employer in the future. As a
result, these answers will have to be interpreted rather as “what Generation Z students think will
determine their attachment to their jobs in the future” than “what actually determines that Generation Z
will be kept attached to their jobs”.
Students on the verge of Generation Z imagine that reward (4.21) along with work-life balance (4.20) are
going to be the most substantial factors keeping them in their future jobs, followed by good relationship
Factors Mean Std. dev Factors Mean Std. dev
Opportunity for fast career growth 3.48 0.78 Benefits 3.44 0.92
Training & development opp ortunities 3.70 0.74 Work flexibility 3.92 0.91
Job s ecurity 4.00 0.88 Possibility to travel abroad 3.22 1.13
Work-life balance 4.02 0.90 Organizational values and CSR 3.25 0.95
Nature of job 4.02 0.89 Image of the organization 3.37 0.98
Factors Mean Std. dev Factors Mean Std. dev
A job that yields internal satisfaction 4.52 0.64 Autonomy in what I do 3.83 0.80
A secure job 4.09 0.82 Good social life related to work 3.64 1.00
Good reward and wealth 4.13 0.73 Good relationship with my bos s 4.13 0.77
Development of s kills and proficiency 4.24 0.67 Work-life balance 4.36 0.76
Factors Mean Std. dev Factors Mean Std. dev
Image of the organization where I work 3.14 0.99 Autonomy 3.51 0.81
Job s ecurity 3.98 0.88 Organizational culture and values 3.44 0.85
Work-life balance 4.20 0.81 Flexible working time 3.92 0.91
Reward 4.21 0.72 Good relationship with the boss 4.03 0.81
Friendly work environment 3.84 0.92
Social life related to work 3.52 1.01
Factors Mean Std. dev Factors Mean Std. dev
The feeling that I have impact 3.91 0.85 Financial reward 4.42 0.65
Possibility to help others 3.91 0.91 Training and development 4.18 0.72
Interes ting and diverse job 4.42 0.65 Problem-solving 3.64 0.89
Succes s 4.37 0.7 Being a member of a motivated team 3.87 0.88
Recognition 4.24 0.81 The feeling of contributing to
something meaningful 4.30 0.79
Job satisfaction
Search for a future potential employer
Career expectations
Job retention
Possibility to work on interesting
assignments 4.01 0.87
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with the boss (4.03), possibility to work on interesting assignments (4.01), job security (3.98), flexible
working time (3.92), and friendly work environment (3.84). For job retention of Generation Z
specifically, organization-based factors (image of the organization 3.14; organizational culture and
values – 3.44) seem to be overwhelmed by factors linked to individual jobs, reward and work-life balance
in particular. Social life related to work (3.52) as well as autonomy in one’s job (3.51), however, do not
seem to play a leading role in terms of Generation Z job retention just like they were not identified as
major factors in terms of career expectations.
In terms of job satisfaction, preliminary results indicate that financial reward and job diversity (both 4.42)
together with success (4.37), the feeling of contributing to something meaningful (4.30), and recognition
(4.24) are most likely sources of Generation Z’s job satisfaction. On the other hand, problem-solving
(3.64) and being part of a motivated team (3.87) seem to play a secondary role in this matter.
Out of all factors examined in this study, we would like to point out one that resonates throughout the
results, namely work-life balance. Results suggest that work-life balance seems to be a highly valued
factor for Generation Z in terms of job search, career expectations as well as job retention, which seems
to be in line with existing research findings on Generation Y (see e.g. Cennamo and Gardner 2008;
Kultalahti and Viitala 2015). Our preliminary findings add support to the argument that work-life balance
scores high on the priority list of Generation Z, just like it did and still does for Generation Y. Moreover,
there is a good reason to suppose that the generational aspect will increasingly take the discussion on
work-life balance beyond its traditional framework of conflict between work and family roles. It has been
indicated that individual background and personal circumstances – including marital status and children –
had no association with either work-life conflict or organizational commitment (Sturges and Guest 2004).
While Generation Y is increasingly engaged in some kind of family roles to accompany their professional
roles, Generation Z has hardly entered the word of work by now. Still, work-life balance is of great
importance to them, imposing that organizations will have to manage this issue very carefully. Aiming for
a set of supportive work-life balance policies might potentially impose higher standards on commitment
and actual implementation of diverse approaches to work-life balance management within organizations
in the future.
Conclusion
Every time a new generation enters the workforce, managers tend to struggle to understand the new group
(Gelbart and Komninos 2012) as it is assumed that generations differ and therefore understanding the
different motives, attitudes and personality profiles is crucial for attracting and retaining talented
workforce from a particular generation. Nowadays, a new generation is entering the world of work and
thus attracts its attention. Employers are eager to understand them in order to help them flourish, and
support their performance.
The preliminary results presented in this paper represent a preview of the upcoming changes in perception
of different work-related factors through the eyes of the “newcoming” Generation Z. However, they are
not thorough and cannot be generalized. The research sample was not diverse as all respondents included
in this phase of our study are currently studying at the same faculty in Bratislava. More research is needed
to verify and deepen the fingdings.
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In our study, we have assessed the importance of the factors that were on top of the list of the previous
generation, but more research on unique preferences, motivations and attitudes is needed to see the full
picture of Generation Z. It is also possible that the identified preferences are more age-based than
generation-based. A future comparative study with a much larger sample of Generation Z would be
beneficial, as they just start entering the world of work, and their preferences might evolve once they
enter their full-time time jobs.
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... In line with previous research our results indicate, that having a meaningful job one really enjoys is a vital factor for Generation Z´s motivation. Being assessed as crucial in many studies on Generation Z (Schwabel 2014;Kubátová 2016;Kirchmayer and Fratričová 2017) Happiness means for members of Generation Z to "have a meaningful job" or "do what they love". Understanding what exactly makes a job meaningful and enjoyable for Generation Z is important also for understanding their possible future career patterns. ...
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... In the evaluated literature, the first noticeable thing is that the authors have increasingly assigned other age bands to the corresponding generations (cf. Metzler, Werner, & Zibrowius, 2014: p. 1;Dick, 2019: p. 16;Kirchmayer & Fratricova, 2017: p. 1576Vatanparast & Adamaschek, 2018: p. 4;Steckl, Simshäuser, & Niederberger, 2019: p. 213;Böhlich & Axmann, 2020: p. 4). Therefore, these age bands are taken over for further development. ...
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... In line with previous studies - Jackling and Calero (2006), Mustapha et al. (2012), Ahmad et al. (2014), Solikhah (2014, Suhaily et al. (2016), Priyanti et al. (2017), and Pratama (2017)this research finds that students' interest in public accountant jobs and their perception of time flexibility, learning opportunities, and dynamics environment provided by the professions, drive their intention to pursue this career. This finding is not surprising since all of the respondents are Generation Z. Hence, it is relevant to prior studies regarding career aspirations of this generation (Tapscott 2009;Schawbel 2014;Bridges 2015;Kubátová 2016;Kirchmayer and Fratričová 2017) showing that those attributes are crucial for Generation Z in selecting their jobs. ...
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Public accountants play crucial roles in creating trustworthy information for economic development. Ironically, many parts of the world, including Indonesia, experience a shortage of Public Accountants despite the abundant number of accounting students. This study, built on the Theory of Planned Behaviour, aims to examine factors that explain students’ intentions to pursue public accountants as a career. To answer the question, this study uses questionnaires distributed to 115 accounting students from across Indonesia participating in CPA Days 2019. Utilising Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) technique to analyse their responses, this study has shown that students’ intentions are significantly affected by their attitude towards job-related factors. These factors involve their interests in the professions, time flexibility, learning opportunity, and dynamic environment provided by the jobs. On the contrary, their attitude toward public accountants’ social prestige, earnings potential, influence of others (subjective norm), as well as difficulties factors (perceived behavioural control) are not proven to be significant factors. This finding is not shocking, since it suits Generation Z behaviour in selecting their job. Therefore, to increase students’ interest to become public accountants, the professional body and regulator should promote the attributes of the professions matching to the Generation Z career aspirations.
... Polish Gen Zers are also pragmatic: they do not expect fast career; prefer good planning and expect constructive feedback from managers (Dolot, 2018). Slovakian Gen Zers are motivated mostly by interesting work, reward and achievements (Kirchmayer, Z. & Fratričová, J., 2017;Kirchmayer, Z. & Fratričová, J., 2018). Czech Gen Zers show themselves as pragmatic ones, too. ...
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The main purpose of this study was to examine the ethicality of future employees’ attitudes toward advancement in the workplace in Slovenia and Lithuania. This study focuses on students representing young adults from Generation Z as future employees in organizations. Using a survey of work-related issues, we collected 212 answers from Slovenian and 159 from Lithuanian' students from business faculties. We used t-tests and regression analyses to obtain results. We found that the future employees in Slovenia see organizationally beneficial behavior and self-indulgent behavior significantly more acceptable for their advancement, than their Lithuanian peers. No differences exist in the perception of destructive behavior among participants from both countries. Substantial differences in the importance of personal values among Generation Z members in both societies, provide a strong support for the divergence nature of Generation Z across cultures. The impact of personal values on the ethicality of different behavior for advancement in the workplace among future employees in both societies is substantial, but biased and follows different patterns. In Slovenia, the dominant role has power, followed by hedonism, benevolence, security, conformity, tradition, and universalism, while in Lithuania, the dominant role belongs to self-direction, followed by tradition, universalism, security, achievement, and power. This study will help us to understand Generation Z values and their perceptions regarding ethicality of advancement in the workplace and enable organizations to manage the behavior of future employees.
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The present chapter endeavors to map the psychological contract expectations of Gen Z members in a digital world context. Relied on theoretical underpinnings of psychological contract theory and generational cohort perspective, a conceptual framework is proposed representing the work expectations and preferences of Gen Z members. Gen Z members harbor high expectations in terms of workplace flexibility, learning and development opportunities, career advancement pathways, access to latest technologies, consistent feedback, work-life balance, and a social atmosphere. The conceptual framework of this study offers insights into the high expectations held by Gen Z members, which acts as a guiding mechanism for human resource managers to tailor generation-specific policies to tap the potential of this upcoming workforce segment.
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In this study we address the importance of understanding career expectations of members of Generation Z. This generation represents the demographic cohort after the Millennials with a starting birth years in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s. Most of Generation Z have used the Internet since a young age and are comfortable with technology and social media. The research was conducted on 357 under graduate students currently enrolled in University of Novi Sad. The results indicate that life-balance, expertise, learning and freedom are found as the most important career aspects for Generation Z students. Gender differences in career expectations were examined. We make several suggestions for how human resources professionals can adjust and evolve current HR practices in order to respond to requests of their future employees. Since there were no Generation Z studies conducted in Serbia, these results give an important insight into current position of Serbian students in relation to findings from similar studies conducted in other countries.
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Daha önceki kuşaklardan farklı beklentileriyle Y kuşağının yarattığı değişim devam ederken, farklı karakteristiklere sahip olan Z kuşağı da iş yaşamına girmeye başlamıştır. Z kuşağı genç yetenekleri kendilerine çekmek isteyen işletmelerin seçme ve yerleştirme süreçlerini bu kuşağın sahip olduğu farklı karakteristiklere göre yeniden düzenlemeleri beklenmektedir. Bu doğrultuda çalışma Z kuşağı adayların işletmelerin seçme ve yerleştirme sürecine ilişkin beklentilerini belirlemeyi amaçlamaktadır. Çalışmada Z kuşağını temsil eden 198 üniversite öğrencisine soru formu uygulanmıştır. Kendilerinden önce gelen kuşaklardan farklı olarak Z kuşağının seçme ve yerleştirme sürecine ilişkin teknoloji ve katılım odaklı beklentileri olduğu görülmüştür. While the change created by generation Y with different expectations from previous generations continues, generation Z, which has different characteristics, started to enter the business life. A businesses that want to attract young Z generation talents are expected to rearrange their recruitment and selection processes according to the different characteristics of this generation. Accordingly this study aims to determine the expectations of the Z generation candidates regarding the recruitment and selection process of the businesses. A questionnaire was applied to 198 university students representing Z generation. Unlike the generations that precede them, the Z generation has a technology and participation oriented expectations regarding the recruitment and selection process.
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Generation Y is starting to represent a significant proportion of the labor force and adds to the diversity challenges faced by companies, especially those operating in a globa lmarket.Although many characteristics o fGeneration Y with regard to work and employment have been identified through research, most comes from developed Western countries. We explored the employment expectations of business students inPoland, Slovenia, the UK and South Korea from the psychological contract perspective. We aimed to identify and explain differences between anticipated employee and employer obligations of future entrants to the labor market. Overall, students expect more relational and balanced dimensions of a psychological contract than transactional. However, there are significant differences in the elements, dimensions and types of psychological contract between countries.The Polish and Slovenian responses show more elements of a transactional contract than the UK and Korean. The differences can be explained by taking into account economic context and national culture characteristics. The implications of the results for employers’ approach to managing young talent are also discussed.
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Paper presents empirical findings from the GLOBE Student research (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) and offers new insights into the field of managerial preferences related to the corporate social responsibility (CSR) in five countries of the CEE region, namely Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Results are valuable mainly because the CSR-related research in the respective region still remains an under-studied domain, and only little attention is dedicated to international comparative analysis in the field of CSR-related preferences in decision-making.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine whether four different generations (Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y) hold different beliefs about career. Career type, career success evaluation and importance attached to organizational security are to be scrutinized for each generation. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 750 people completed a vignette task, rating the career success of 32 fictitious people. Each vignette contained a different combination of five career features (functional level, salary, number of promotions, promotion speed, and satisfaction) at two levels (low and high). Furthermore, several items were added in order to determine each participant's career type and the extent to which they attached importance to organizational security. Findings – The majority of participants still had rather “traditional” careers, although younger generations seemed to exhibit larger discrepancies between career preferences and actual career situation. Overall, satisfaction appeared to be the overriding criterion used to evaluate other people's career success. No significant differences were found between generations. With regard to importance attached to organizational security, the Silent Generation and Generation Y scored significantly higher than the other generations. Research limitations/implications – The convenience sampling strategy led to large differences in sample size per generation. Using a vignette design limited the amount and richness of information that could be offered to participants. Perhaps other criteria relevant to real-life career success evaluation should have been incorporated in this study. Originality/value – The study raises questions about the validity of career success operationalizations frequently used in research. It is the first study to examine career success evaluation by means of vignettes.
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Purpose – The purpose of this qualitative paper is to seek more understanding of the elements important to the psychological contracts of working Millennials. The study also presents the implications of those findings for human resource management practices. Design/methodology/approach – Empirical data were collected from Facebook using the method of empathy-based stories (MEBS). A sample of working Millennials describes the factors they saw as motivating and desirable in working life. Findings – The findings are in line with previous quantitative studies in western countries, which reveal constant learning and developing at work; interesting, challenging, and varied tasks; social relations and the supervisor’s behaviour; reciprocal flexibility concerning timetables and working hours; and a good work-life balance to be important factors. However, the findings indicate that the desire to develop competences, and factors related to time may be even more significant for Millennials than previous literature on psychological contracts has suggested. Neither monetary issues nor a desire for long-term contracts emerged clearly as important factors from the material, showing that the manifestations of some elements that are important in the formulation of the psychological contract vary in different contexts. Practical implications – The findings of this study indicate that employing Millennials challenges HR professionals to develop HR practices that offer flexible time structures, systematic and individual development procedures, and a coaching form of leadership. Originality/value – The paper exhibits a methodological innovation in using Facebook as a vehicle for data gathering. Additionally it applies the MEBS: a method still rare in research in the field of business.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine some perceptions of Millennials concerning what makes work motivating, and discuss their implications for human resource management (HRM) practices. Design/methodology/approach – Empirical data were collected via Facebook using the method of empathy-based stories (MEBS). The theoretical framework is grounded in the literature on motivation. Findings – The full-time working Millennials wrote more about intrinsic motivators than extrinsic ones. Additionally, there were several dichotomies of positive and negative factors causing motivation/demotivation. Thus, the results contradict to some extent with the ones of Herzberg's. The stories revealed that the most important things having an effect on motivation were an interesting, varying and flexible job and good relationships with colleagues and supervisor. Practical implications – The results revealed some particular factors that should be considered when designing HRM practices to dovetail with the motivational drivers of the Millennials: flexibility, work-life balance, convenient social relationships, need for coaching-based leadership and the opportunity to develop. Social implications – Due to retirements and shrinking generations, the impact of Generation Y is increasing in the workforce. Thus, recognising its motivational factors is important. Originality/value – The originality of the study partly rests in its methodological innovativeness. Often adopted by sociologists, this study introduces the method of MEBS to the business field. Furthermore, Facebook is still seldom used in data gathering. While much of the extant research on Generation Y is quantitative in nature, the adoption of a qualitative approach allows for the voice of Generation Y to be heard.
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Purpose – The transition from higher education to employment is a major life change for many college seniors (currently, the Generation Y cohort). The purpose of this paper is to enhance the understanding of Generation Y and to present new insights regarding Gen Y's retail career expectations, perceptions of retail careers, future psychological contract/entitlement perceptions of retail careers, and career exploration of the US retailing industry. Design/methodology/approach – Utilizing quantitative research methods via an on-line survey, the authors examined 193 Gen Y college seniors' retail career perceptions and expectations, and explored the influence these factors have on future psychological contract/entitlement perceptions of employer-employee obligations and retail career exploration from nine US universities. Findings – College seniors' pre-entry retail job expectations, perceptions of retail careers, and future psychological contract/entitlement perceptions of employee obligations were significant predictors of career exploration; college seniors' preconceived notions of retail careers, combined with what they feel they would owe their future employer, are instrumental in determining retail career exploration decisions. Research limitations/implications – Findings suggest directions for university faculty, academic advisors, and industry practitioners on facilitating college seniors' transitions from higher education to the world of work by suggesting recruitment strategies that can attract, retain and motivate Gen Y. Originality/value – The findings provide useful criteria for organizational development strategies to assist with the transition from higher education to the workforce and may also improve the success of recruiting Gen Y employees. In addition, the conceptualization of psychological contracts (i.e. entitlement perceptions) differentiates this study from prior psychological contract research.